We don’t get too many international conferences these days with the expectations borne by the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva in August 1955. (Climate conferences are a modern comparable.) Jerome Lunz, the forthright editor of industry journal Nucleonics, expressed some of the bated breath in an editorial four months prior: The place to make an. . .
Christopher Hinton writes to two of his most senior managers in early 1955 that he has “read the report of the enquiry into the failure of the primary traps at Capenhurst and feel that much of the evidence is unsatisfactory.” I’m not sure what “primary traps” are, perhaps steam traps, and I don’t really need the detail, but this long, blistering memo reinforces to me. . .
Little Fooler contest
Nearly six months before the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, to be held in August 1955, Walter Zinn writes to his Division Directors – Scientific “to place in your hands all the information I have to this moment concerning the International Conference.” He sets out how he reckoned AEC’s conference paper selection would proceed. “The. . .
On February 10, 1955, John Cockcroft received a diplomatic letter attaching a translated Soviet article about that nation’s first “peaceful” (though it wasn’t) reactor at Obninsk (that location only got clarified later). Cockcroft handwrote to his technical guru, John Dunworth: “Do Reactor Physics have any views on this?” Dunworth’s handwritten response is hard to. . .
Battle to build
Anyone who has worked in the corporate world knows all too well how organizations jostle to control anything exciting. At the beginning of 1955, Great Britain was embarking on a build of what became Calder Hall, part military plutonium producer, part reactor supplying the electricity for the nation’s near-monopoly, British Electricity Authority. Something completely airbrushed out of. . .
I’ve blogged about this subject a few times, so forgive me, but the complex relationship between John Cockcroft, the Nobel-Prize-winning physicist who created Harwell and oversaw an incredible period of reactor design (from a scientific perspective), and Christopher Hinton, driven, brilliant engineer who built England’s nuclear-weapons-related factories and early power reactors, never. . .